Three Weeks’ Worth

Let’s get right to it, shall we? For the next two weeks, At Quaquanantuck will be on hiatus, the first such break in continuity (other than one week each year at Christmas) since I first started working on the column in the 1990s, when it appeared weekly in the paper then known as the Hampton Chronicle-News. 

At home in Quogue or away on vacation, the miracle of the interweb (formerly known as Al Gore’s information superhighway) allowed me to file a column each week for almost 30 years, a practice I have continued since the newspaper dropped At Quaquanantuck and I started posting online at the beginning of 2017.

low tide lg
A deceptive expanse of beach at low tide, January 22. —A. Botsford Photo

For the next two weeks, though, I will be taking advantage of an incredible opportunity to travel to equatorial Africa and, even if there is access to the internet, which seems doubtful, in the places I am traveling to, it is my intention to focus entirely on the experience and so I will not be bringing my computer.

Surf kicking up AB
Surf kicking up, January 20. —A. Botsford Photo

When I first started soliciting voluntary subscriptions at the beginning of last summer, I tried to alert readers that I might take off a week here and there going forward, so I hope none of you who have so generously supported my efforts here will feel cheated in any way. And, before I head into the jungle, I would like to express my sincere gratitude: to the Village of Quogue for the recent honor bestowed on me; to all readers of this column for your wonderful support, whether or not you have taken a voluntary subscription; and for the great blessing of being able to live, and write, and make live theatre in such a remarkable community.

And yes, alert readers will have noticed that I—an avowed skeptic about the benefits of advanced technology in the modern age—readily acknowledged above how the internet has allowed me to file At Quaquanantuck from such far flung locales as Europe and the United Kingdom; the Bahamas and the Adirondacks. What can I say, except that my relationship with technology continues to be … complicated. 

I’m happy to report that a few readers have already responded to my request for comments and thoughts about our dependence on artificial intelligence and technology in the modern age, and I am looking forward to further exploration of the topic after I return. But for now I need to try to get a few weeks’ worth of updates into this one column, as there won’t be another until February 13.

Beach Jan 12 Meredith M
January 12 sunset. —Meredith Murray Photo

Refuge “Light the Night” Trail Walks Rescheduled to February 1
Magical winter evening walks are scheduled once again at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, for a fifth year. Due to foul weather on January 25, adults and families are now invited to come to the Refuge from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 1, for a self-guided, peaceful stroll through the gently lit forest trails. 

After or before the walk, strollers can warm up in the Nature Center near the cozy fireplace with some hot cocoa and cookies. The fee is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. Check-in is inside the Nature Center.

Reservations preferred, to arrange arrival times at the Refuge; walk-ins will also be welcome. Call 631-653-4771 or register online by clicking here, or visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org

Library Supporting Heart of the Hamptons
The Quogue Library has selected Heart of the Hamptons (heartofthehamptons.org) as its beneficiary for the month of January. Donations of non-perishable food items for the Heart of the Hamptons Food Pantry are being accepted at the library’s Midland Street temporary headquarters. 

“Admissions” Wins High Marks from Audiences and Critics
“Admissions” by Joshua Harmon, the second show of the Hampton Theatre Company’s 35th season, won praise from critics and audiences over its opening weekend at the Community Hall on Jessup Avenue. The seriously funny play takes a pointed look at college admissions, diversity, and one couple’s changing values when their son’s future is on the line. 

The show will run through February 2; talkbacks with the cast and director will be offered following the 7 p.m. performance tonight, Thursday, January 23, and Friday, January 24.

AD MV MP IH tk
Morgan Vaughan, Minerva Perez, and Ian Hubbard in a scene from “Admissions,” through February 2 at the Quogue Community Hall. —Tom Kochie Photo

In a review for The Independent, Bridget LeRoy wrote: “This review could be as short as one sentence: Go see this play. In fact, go see it twice, as this writer did.” And T.J. Clemente, reviewing for Hamptons.com, wrote: “‘Admissions’ is a successful lit stick of dynamite of a comedy.”  

Presented at Lincoln Center in 2018, “Admissions” was the winner of Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Play. In a review for the New York Times, Jesse Green called the play “astonishing and daring … good satire at work, causing us to think critically about people we don’t at first recognize as images of ourselves … An extraordinarily useful and excruciating satire—of the left, by the left, for the left—for today.” 

The cast of the HTC production of “Admissions” features four HTC veterans: Morgan Vaughan (“Good People,” “Other Desert Cities”); Hampton Bays High School senior Ian Hubbard (“On Golden Pond”); Tristan Vaughan (“Deathtrap,” “Venus in Fur”); and HTC Artistic Director Diana Marbury; along with Minerva Perez, a well-known actor on the East End but a newcomer to the HTC stage.

AD Ian Hubbard TK
Ian Hubbard. —Tom Kochie Photo

Hampton Theatre Company president Andrew Botsford directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; sound by Seamus Naughton; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun. 

“Admissions” runs at the Quogue Community Hall from January 16 to February 2, with performances on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. An additional matinee performance will be offered during the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, February 1, prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening. Talkbacks with the cast will be offered following the 7 p.m. performances on Thursday, January 23, and Friday, January 24. 

A special lunch and theater package is available for the Saturday matinee on February 1, with lunch before the show at the Quogue Club at the Hallock House. Discount tickets are available for veterans, Native Americans, under 35, students, and groups. For reservations and information on all packages and available discounts, visit  www.hamptontheatre.org or email info@hamptontheatre.org

To reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111. 

Introduction to Photography at Firehouse January 23
The Quogue Library will once again be offering a one-hour Introduction to Photography class today, Thursday, January 23, at 4 p.m. at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue. 

Instructor Miranda Gatewood will be the instructor for this class. Participants are asked to bring their smart phones or cameras to learn tips and tricks of the trade. Advance registration requested; call 631-653-4224, ext. 101. 

50th Anniversary for Kim and Cheryle Payne
Congratulations go out this week to Kim and Cheryle Payne, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on Friday, January 24. 

As Cheryle wrote to At Quaquanantuck: “We were married in Vermont in 1970 on a beautiful sunny day with the snow melting. The week before there was three feet of snow!” The couple will be celebrating quietly with their family, as Kim just had a third back surgery since June. Cheryle said that he is “doing really well with this last one. Hoping he’ll be back out soon, riding around making sure Quogue is all good.” 

At Quaquanantuck is wishing Kim a speedy recovery, and hopeful that his back problems were not precipitated by his boyhood practice of pounding through the wakes of larger vessels while riding astride the bow of a 9-foot Skimmar with a green Johnson 5 HP motor on the back.

beach walk Margot Carr
Beach walk. —Margot Carr Photo

Library’s Adult Book Club Meets January 26
On Sunday, January 26, the Quogue Library Adult Book Club will meet at noon at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue to discuss “Circe” by Madeline Miller. 

The club’s next meeting will be on Sunday, March 15, at noon, when the book to be discussed will be “A Woman Is No Man” by Etaf Rum. 

Keep an Eye Out for the Groundhog at Firehouse February 2
While some might think that February 2 is a big day because of a football game in Miami, and others consider it significant because it’s the day of the final performance of the HTC production of “Admissions,” the cognoscenti know that the real excitement of that day will derive from the appearance of Quogue Quigley, who will be looking for his shadow in ceremonies sponsored by the Quogue Library at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue. 

Yes, Sunday, February 2, at 10 a.m., it will be time for the library’s Third Annual Groundhog Day Celebration, featuring Quigley, resident groundhog of the STAR Foundation (savetheanimalsrescue.org) of Middle Island, and Quogue’s most celebrated top hat dignitary, the Big Chill, aka Chris Osborne.

Groundhog Big Chill
MC Chris Osborne, aka The Big Chill, at Groundhog Day ceremonies at the Quogue Library.

As legend has it, for reasons that will likely remain forever obscure, the prognosticating groundhog will predict either an early spring or six more weeks of winter based on seeing his shadow, or not. All residents of Quogue and neighboring communities are invited to partake in the festivities. Serving once again as Master of Ceremonies, the Big Chill will call out the outcome and a gathering featuring hot chocolate, coffee and pastries will immediately follow. 

Quigley lives at the Save the Animals Rescue Foundation, whose mission is “to mitigate the damage done to the wild population through the progress of humans.” Offering advice on managing animals found in homes and other areas where wild animals do not belong, STAR maintains a network of wildlife veterinarians and experts to assist in transport and rehabilitation of rescued animals, as well as permanent placement and adoption programs. They currently have cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and even a ball python on the STAR available adoptions page.

Groundhog Quigley
The prediction everyone is hoping for.

STAR programs are exclusively funded through the support of local businesses and individuals. STAR is always in need of printing services, advertising and fundraising assistance. The public is invited to fulfill the wishlist for Quigley and friends by donating products listed on their website or via Amazon Smile. Quogue Library has listed STAR as the recipient of their February charitable collection.

“We are very happy to welcome Quigley and the STAR rescue team back to Quogue, continuing our Groundhog Day traditions,” said Susan McKenna, the libary’s director of operations. “Our fingers are crossed in hopes that Quigley will once again call for an early spring in the Hamptons!”

At Quaquanantuck suspects that “Quigley” is an alliterative moniker of convenience; chances are this gopher is known as Rodney when in Ronkonkoma, Martin when in Mastic, and perhaps Wallace in Wantagh. Nonetheless, he’s just as capable of seeing his shadow, or not, as any other woodchuck and we wish him well, along with all the other critters at the STAR Foundation. 

Earth Yoga at Wildlife Refuge Continues on Wednesdays
Readers are invited to connect yoga instructor Amy Hess, with the Earth, and with their own mind, body, and spirit during one-hour yoga classes in the Main Room of the Nature Center at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge on Wednesdays at 9 a.m. 

This is another of Amy’s gentle yoga programs for all fitness levels, with a cost of $15 per class. Pre-registration is recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. Call 631-653-4771 to register.

Poetry from Sign Language for Children
On Saturday, February 8, at 11 a.m., children age 9 and up will be introduced to American Sign Language and then will use the signs that they learn to create their own original poetry while being exposed to authentic symbols and phrases. 

There is a limit of 20 children for this Quogue Library program at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue. Snacks will be made available; parents are asked to notify at registration of any allergies. Call 631-653-4224, ext. 101. 

Welcome Nathan Fox Slygh
The extended family that is our village got a new addition on Thanksgiving day. Nathan Fox Slygh, son of Genevieve Crane-Slygh and Max Slygh and latest grandchild of Carol Crane, was born on November 28, 2019, and weighed in at 7 lbs. 2 oz. 

No word yet on whether young Nathan, following in a forked family tradition, will be a literary athlete, or an athletic writer … what’s clear is that he is endowed with the extraordinary intelligence all branches of his family are known for. Welcome, Nathan.

Nathan Fox Slygh
Nathan Fox Slygh. And, yes, that is a fox print on the PJs.

 At Wildlife Refuge, Fireside Poetry Reading on February 8
On Saturday, February 8, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., the Quogue Wildlife Refuge will present an afternoon of fireside poetry reading in the Nature Center, hosted by local poet and published author Maggie Bloomfield. For this open reading for poets, listeners, and friends, all are encouraged to bring a poem of their own, a favorite by someone else, a very short essay to read, or just to come and enjoy the readings. 

All ages, including children, are invited to read. The topic for the event is “Celebrating Nature and our Local Environment.” Cookies and tea will be served, and there will be a short intermission. This is a free program; donations are welcome. Registration is preferred for this family friendly event; call 631-653-4771 or visit quoguewildliferefuge.org.

Library Film Feast at Firehouse February 8 Features “The Farewell”
On Saturday, February 8, it’s time for another installment in the monthly Film Feast series sponsored by the Quogue Library at the Firehouse. The February selection will be the 2019 U.S. film “The Farewell,” directed by Lulu Wang. 

In the film, described as a drama and a comedy, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. The Farewell

As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken.

Writing for Vox.com, the critic Alissa Wilkinson called the film “a finely tuned drama that finds humor in the everyday absurdity that comes from belonging to a family. Grief and love coexist in ‘The Farewell’, as do truth and fiction, past and present, sorrow and joy. It’s an outstanding, quietly devastating, deeply personal story, and one that’s destined to put Wang firmly on the map.” 

The feasting begins at 6:15 and the film will be screened at 7:15. As always, admission is a beverage to share and a dish that serves at least six. Best to call the library at 631-653-4224 to let them know you’re coming and what food you’re planning to bring. 

International Dinners at Inn Spot
Readers are invited to explore the cuisine of a different country every week at the Inn Spot on the Bay in Hampton Bays.This weekend, Cheffes Collette and Pam will offer a menu featuring dishes from Spain; on January 31 and February 1, dishes from Japan; on February 7 and 8, dishes from Brazil. 

The cost is $39 for the three-course prix fixe; there will be seatings from 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Be sure to check out each week’s Street Food offering as well. The Inn Spot On The Bay is just north of the Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays. Call 631-728-1200 for more information or to make a reservation, or visit  www.theinnspot.com/internationaldiningseries to see the complete menu. 

Your Comments Welcome
At Quaquanantuck is happy to provide a forum for civil discussion of village issues and initiatives and welcomes all comments. All are encouraged to share observations, ideas and opinions by writing to AtQuaq@gmail.com.  

At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country—or the world. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.

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